What Are Recycled Glass Worktops? – Pros, Cons & Questions Answered
Recycled glass worktops are eco-conscious, economical, and set the stage for unique decor in any home. Perhaps you spotted a sparkly worktop in your neighbour’s new kitchen when you dropped in for tea and wondered what it was? They may have recycled glass worktops instead of laminate or the popular quartz option.
In this post, I’ll explain what recycled glass worktops are, their pros and cons as well as answer some frequently asked questions about them.
Let’s get into it!
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What Are Recycled Glass Worktops?
Recycled glass worktops use post-consumer glass, polymers, resins, and other materials to create a unique, durable, and contemporary option for your kitchen or bathroom. They may also be referred to as crushed glass worktops.
They often include up to 85% recycled glass (Stoneville offer 100% recycled glass options), making this an eco-friendly choice. Better yet, when it is time to retire the worktop, it can be recycled again.
The most common types of glass used for these worktops are windscreen, automotive, window, and post-consumer bottle glass. The glass is collected from recycling facilities and cleaned. It is then sorted by colour and type and smashed in bits.
How Are Recycled Glass Worktops Made?
The glass particles are mixed with polymers, binders, and other kinds of granules. Typically resin or cement binders. A high-pressure plate pushes it into a form. Then it is baked to create a tough worktop ready to last for years to come.
The final product is available in the complete rainbow of colours from neutral beige to bright red, blue, green, or even purple. The crushed glass gives it a flecked appearance often associated with traditional worktop finishes.
Some popular brands available throughout the United Kingdom include Apollo Recycled Glass, Stoneville, and DIAMIK Glass. You can often find them on display at your local DIY store, kitchen design centres, and building supply shops.
Glass: A Unique Appearance for your Worktops
Homeowners who select a glass countertop may be looking for something that stands out from the crowd.
The glass worktops add a modern twist that breaks away from the trending white, grey, and brown stones that are so popular in many homes. As well as your kitchen, they are a great option for your bathroom counter, basement pub, games room or workshop.
The glass is manufactured in large slabs averaging 3000mm long by 1500mm deep. Your worktop installer takes a precise measurement of your kitchen base cabinets. At the fabrication shop, a robotic saw cuts the glass into appropriate pieces for installation.
Most kitchens use two or three pieces to create the usual L-shaped worktop.
You can order your recycled glass worktop in 20mm to 40mm depths. The thicker the worktop, the less likely it is to crack over its lifetime. The edge is created by glueing a strip of the worktop to the front of the surface for a crisp presentation. You do not have the option of adding a shaped or rounded edge.
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How Much Do Recycled Glass Worktops Cost?
Recycled glass is not only an eco-friendly option, but it is also nice for your wallet. An average glass worktop will run around £100 – £250 per square foot installed.
Compared to quartz or granite, you could save around £500 to £2,000 for an average-sized kitchen worktop. Depending on the brand, colour and type you pick.
Advantages of Recycled Glass Worktops
- Eco-friendly option using up to 85% post-consumer recycled materials
- More affordable than natural stone or quartz worktops
- Available in a rainbow of colours from sparkly white to bold blue, green, and red
- Non-porous material resists stains
- Requires no regular sealing unlike natural stone
- Good Heat and scratch-resistantance
- Colour matched seams
- Most damage can be repaired
Disadvantages of Recycled Glass Worktops
- Much more expensive than laminate worktops
- Susceptible to cracks and chips on the worktop edge
- The unique appearance may not appeal to every homeowner
- Not a DIY project–professional installation is highly recommended
- Limited edge options
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Are recycled glass worktops durable?
Yes, recycled glass worktops will last many, many years as long as they are properly maintained. They keep a like-new appearance for years and are comparable in performance to quartz or other solid surface materials.
Are recycled glass worktops heat resistant?
Yes, to a point. Since the worktop undergoes a lengthy baking process during production, you can place a hot pot on its surface without cracking or discolouration.
However, a rapid change in temperature can cause thermal shock and crack the surface, as with many stone surfaces. So it is wise to use a hot pad or trivet for daily use.
Are recycled glass worktops scratch resistant?
The tough polymer and resin finish makes recycled glass worktops resistant to surface scratches.
It won’t etch or scratch if you drop a knife or other sharp object on the surface. However, you will want to use a cutting board on a daily basis.
Are recycled glass worktops stain-resistant?
Unlike stone worktops, recycled glass worktops are non-porous. This means that they will not stain as wine and tomato sauce cannot be absorbed into the surface. It won’t require any kind of sealant, either.
Simply wipe up spills using your washing up soap and a soft cloth.
Do recycled glass worktops crack easily?
It is possible to crack a recycled glass worktop, but it is just as hard to damage as a quartz or stone worktop. The most common cracks happen after a heavy object is dropped on its surface, especially if it’s near the edge. Daily use will not crack it.
If you do end up with a crack, it can be repaired using a mix of polymers and resins that match its colour. With care, the repair will be nearly invisible and extend the life of the worktop.
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There you have it! Everything you need to know about recycled glass worktops.
While they may not be to everyone’s taste and style, they can be a great option if you’re looking for something a little bit more unique with some eco-credentials. They are also a great choice if you’re looking for something similar to quartz or an acrylic countertop but a little more budget-friendly.
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Michael is a kitchen designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new kitchen installations for around 10 years. Before that, he was an electrician and part of a team that fitted kitchens. He created Kitchinsider in early 2019 to help give people advice when it comes to getting a new kitchen.